Researching the stories that made, and continue to make, Texas has been the hallmark of the Institute of Texan Cultures since the beginning. These studies form the basis of long-term, short-term, and traveling exhibitions, as well as educational resource material and popular publications.
Research may take many forms. Analyzing historical accounts, studying objects from the past, or capturing oral histories can all reveal new perspectives. Along with giving life to history, our research often provides a voice for those who have not traditionally been heard as we explore the many faces of our diverse Texan heritage.
ITC researchers have been collecting, transcribing, and sharing first-hand accounts of the lives of Texans for decades. Our Oral History collection includes over 900 personal recollections of life and events that built our state. These stories bring personal perspective into our exhibitions and classroom presentations. Most of the oral histories are available online through the UTSA Library Archives Special Collections
located in the Institute of Texan Cultures.
Documenting Texas Folkartists
Through two recent grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Texan Cultures has undertaken fieldwork in South and East Texas to locate artists, craftsers, musicians, performers and other individuals who carry on traditional folkways. The projects have documented many individuals through photographs and audio recordings, as well as identified new participants to share their folkcrafts with the public at our annual Texas Folklife Festival. Several individuals are also participating in exhibitions at the ITC, as well as contributing to Electronic Learning Expeditions and educator workshops.
Through support from the office of the Vice President of Community Services at The University of Texas at San Antonio, the Institute of Texan Cultures is able to create partnerships with academic scholars pursuing topics relevant to the Texan identity and perceptions of culture. This not only enhances the academic mission of the ITC, but enables faculty and their students to apply their studies in a museum environment, and share their research with the community.
Visiting scholars Dr. Jill Hernandez and Dr. Alistair Welchman, from the UTSA Department of Philosophy and Classics, co-chaired a discussion on the ethical situations arising from living in the Texas/Mexico border region. A panel comprising representatives the faith community, law enforcement, academia, media, and other aspects of the community shared their perspectives on current immigration issues.
Visiting scholar and UTSA Assistant Professor Marco Cervantes has viewed Texas’ cultural history through the lens of music, finding a unique overlap between African-American and Mexican-American musical traditions. His discoveries were shared as part of an educational symposium, July 23-25, 2013, at the Institute of Texan Cultures. Cervantes and others taught how to implement music in classroom teaching, while satisfying Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills requirements; then finished the day's activities with a free concert.
Internships in Research
The Research section supports university intens, both at UTSA and from other institutions, through intern opportunies in museum-oriented research and/or oral history. Vists the ITC internships
page for details on current opportunities.
For more information on ITC Research efforts: